family "tourist" photo at the equator... a little embarrisn, but hey! you gotta do it right!
We didn’t arrive in Mbarara until mid-evening Saturday (the typically 4 hour drive took us 7 with many suitcases piled on top of the van and our sweet driver who wanted to drive slowly so we could see the wildlife…which incidentally decided not to make many appearances for us. More about what we saw and experienced of this curious country later…) So we strived to pray and be patient as our hearts leapt ahead of the vehicle towards our children, each mile bringing us closer to holding the little ones we had so longed for. I can truthfully say waves of emotion rolled through the windshield and washed over me, alternately giddy excitement, overwhelming relief that we were finally here, and utter fear that something might still go wrong. I was thankful to be sitting in the middle row where no one could see the goofy grin, tears, and nail biting.
“Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do NOT be terrified; do NOT be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!” Joshua 1:9
A dear friend sent me this verse the day we left – thank you, Lord for promising your presence to us…even in AFRICA!
I ran this verse through my mind over and over as we drove and the waves subsided to gentle tides, much more manageable and I no longer felt like I was going to drown in the sea of emotion that was overtaking me.
PEACE… perfect PEACE!
Babies we are coming!
Finally, we drove into our yard (we’ll share all about the tremendous blessing of this home with you too), embraced our dear friends, the Kehns, quickly unloaded the van, toured the house, and headed straight over to see our baby girl.
so excited to finally be doing to see Abi-sista
Abi lives with her foster mom, “Auntie” Tricia just a little over 5 mintues down the road. Memburio graciously started back up the van and took us to her. As we pulled through the gate at Tricia’s house my whole body tingled and my hairs stood up with goose-bumps despite the warm, balmy evening temperature. We were finally going to hold our precious little girl! We knocked softly at the door, suspecting she might already be asleep. A tired Tricia greeted us and we hugged gently, like very old friends who understood one another’s pain yet had such very different futures.
not really sure what to do with myself!
Tricia is from the UK, she has lived and served in Uganda for 8 years, working to fund tuition for children to attend school (education is so very valuable here) and providing formula and other needs for young and single mothers. She is a warrior and her heart and body bear the battle scars. She is in constant and very intense pain as her hip is severely deteriorated and she needs a replacement badly. Next month Tricia will return to the UK and have her surgery and seek the Lord for His direction in her life. She has loving and devotedly cared for our baby girl for nearly 5 months now, beginning with a hospital stay that saved Abi’s life. They are very bonded and we respect, admire and will be eternally grateful to Tricia for what she has done for our daughter. Tricia is dreading the moment Abi comes to stay with us permanently, and we too anticipate this long awaited day with so much sadness for them both. It is going to be incredibly difficult; please pray for both Tricia and Abi during this time of transition.
As we entered her very comfortable home, my eyes went straight to the black stroller in the corner of the living room and the chubby brown legs poking out from under a blanket which draped over her upper body and face. She was sleeping soundly. Maela who was in my arms saw her too and immediately shouted, “Abi-Sista!” and scrambled down to rush to see the baby she had only cuddled on the computer screen. I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing; it was like my brain couldn’t comprehend my heart’s response to the first sight of my daughter and I was overcome. My chest heaved with big gasps for air and tears began to stream down my face. Craig came to my side and Tricia joined us as well. She removed the veil over her face and we laid our eyes on our gorgeous baby girl for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. We each put a hand of gratefulness and understanding on Tricia’s shoulder and the three of us stood there, staring at the baby we all loved so dearly and cried.
“Hello, baby. I’m your Mommy.”
God has intervened and done a super-natural work in our children to prepare them for us…our prayer for some time now. He answered and has shown favor on us.
We have visited Abi every day now for 3 days, a little longer each day. Tonight I got to walk around with her outside, feed her a bottle for the first time and stare at her round cheeks until she fell asleep on my chest. We each gave her a good night kiss and then I laid her down in her bassinet and tore myself away from her side.
Tomorrow we get to pick her up at 11 and bring her home with us until 5! I cannot wait to have that little girl near me all day, carry her everywhere, and be a part of her life! Each day we will increase the time as long as she does well, and hopefully keep her overnight very soon.
Maela woke up this morning and said, “Abi-sista. Get that baby home!”
I could not have said it better myself, dear. Father God, please, get that baby home!
Mae's first bath in a basin...African style. Do you think she likes it? This little girl has been challenged by the amount of dirt here. She likes to be clean! And I mean no dirt between her toes...she checks! So we are having quite the time watching her frivilous efforts to keep her self dirt-free.
Alexa playing with a sweet girl at the babie's home. She has been an incredible gift to our family (thank you, Braithwaties for entrusting her to us! She is safe and well.) We are so thankful she is hear and it has been an inspiration to watch her serve and love while we are here.
As we sit here in the dark, no power and no water tonight, the reality of life in Uganda and it’s harshness settles in just a bit more…more later on what we have seen, heard and experienced of life for Ugandans and the oh so very small things that create a new world for them.